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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > November 2017 > SPATIAL AWARENESS


There are no limits but you still need to take some things into consideration when writing about space, says Alex Davis

Let’s face the facts – the vast majority of people have never been to space, and most of us never will. So writing any story set in space is automatically going to be an act of imagination, and leaving behind the familiar comforts of earth can be a challenge for a writer. Even if you are gazing into your crystal ball and setting up a future version of earth, there are many scientific, societal and political things that will still hold true, which gives you some grounding in reality. A trip into the vast unknown of space is a different test for a writer altogether, and one that requires careful forethought before ‘launching’ into. So today we’ll be exploring some of the key things you might want to consider.

Amazing or everyday?

Classic science-fiction predicted all manner of things for 2017, including easy space travel for passengers and civilisations established on planets other than Earth. What does remain an important consideration for an author is whether people heading into space is something incredible – whether it is more in line with the SF of the ‘Age of Wonder’ – or if travelling through space has become something simply everyday. Naturally, that will play a big part in the reactions of your characters – in real life most astronauts have spoken of the deep sense of wonder they felt in travelling so far from their home planet. One of the stories I love in terms of its depiction of space as an everyday nuisance is Philip K Dick’s Sales Pitch, in which the protagonist travels to and from work through the traffic of the space lanes and is bombarded by advertising while he’s there. If space is everyday in your setting and to your characters, then how does that play into the story? Do they go to some new part of space, or is the mundanity of the stars somehow intrinsic to the plot?

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You've written your book - now it's time to sell it! Read our features on 7 easy ways to start marketing and how to boost your Amazon sales. We also look at what's really going on with those creative writing myths that seen to have become truisms. Check out what mythbusting story consultant Jeff Lyons has to say. Our star interview is with the hugely talented children's writer and illustrator Cressida Cowell, who has started a new series after the amazing success of How To Train Your Dragon. It was a real pleasure to talk to her about dragons, history, why children love magical creatures and, of course, writing! There's £37,700 to be won in writing prizes, pages packed with opportunities in Writers' News, and much, much more in this month's issue.